The north of Thailand is home to majestic mountains, exotic wildlife, and ancient ruins. This exciting seven-day luxury itinerary, tailor-made by Remote Lands, takes visitors from the ancient ruins of Sukhothai, to the popular culture-heaven of Chiang Mai, and finally to Chiang Rai, where you’ll get to explore a completely different side to Thailand.
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On the first day of your Northern Adventure, we’re going to take you to explore the ancient capital of Thailand, Sukhothai. We’ll stop at the Sukhothai Historical Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is home to just under 200 ancient ruins, including a royal palace and 26 temples.
The next day, you’ll take a scenic drive to Chiang Mai, Thailand’s capital of the North. You’ll explore Waroros Market, a sprawling complex of stalls selling everything from fresh produce to Thai handicrafts. In the evening, you’ll relax at your luxury hotel. We recommend either the stunning Dhara Dhevi Hotel, or the Four Seasons Chiang Mai.
You’ll start your day off with the “Prolong Life Ceremony”, which is traditional to the north, and as the name implies, is performed to extend the longevity of one’s life. Next, you’ll visit Wat Umong, nestled into the bottom of one of Thailand’s most majestic mountains, Doi Suthep. Finally, you’ll do some shopping or browsing at Chiang Mai’s famous Night Bazaar, best-known for its talented portrait artists.
On your final day in Chiang Mai, you’ll begin with a visit to the Tiger Kingdom, where you can actually pet a fully-grown tiger, and play with little tiger cubs. The second thrilling event of the day will take place at an Elephant Camp, where you’ll get to see these majestic creatures in all their glory. You’ll wind down with a traditional Thai cooking class, taught by a highly-trained Thai chef.
Today, you’ll drive to the heart of the Golden Triangle which connects Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar - Chiang Rai. Once arrived, you’ll head to the Hall of Opium, which presents the history of opium, and the impacts of illegal drugs. Head back to one of our two suggested hotels, either the exotic Four Seasons Tented Camp, or the Anantara, both being luxurious abodes.
Guests will get close up with elephants again today, but this time, you’ll be taught the basics of mahout training, which involves learning how to mount and dismount, ride, and wash an elephant. Next up, you’ll visit the panoramic and famous Golden Triangle. Finally, you’ll check out Chiang Saen, an ancient city from the height of the Lanna Kingdom.
On this, the final day of your trip to Northern Thailand, you’ll visit a memorable, picturesque place that has been compared to China’s Shangri-La, Doi Mae Salong. Following this will be a trip to a tea plantation, an industry for which Chiang Rai is gaining increasing notoriety. You’ll finish off your journey by paying a visit to one of Chiang Rai’s hill tribes, which are numerous in the area.
A successful truck dealer with a taste for art, Suchet Suwanmongkol underwrote the $75-million dream of a young, unknown architect to build an ancient Asian city within the confines of Chiang Mai. The resulting 60-acre confection from the now-famous Rachen Intawong includes 142 suites decorated in a colonial mansion style, and individual villas built in various Thai vernaculars. At the heart of the resort is the sumptuous Dheva Spa, a multi-tiered Xanadu with 18 treatment rooms and five residences. Throughout, the bedrooms are huge: 16-foot ceilings are the norm in the colonial wing, as are private verandas and adjoining living rooms, all lavishly fitted with silk-covered chaise lounges and hill-tribe textiles. Superlatives extend to the two pools (enormous) and library (more than 5,000 books and 1,500 DVDs). Kids can also plant rice.
The Four Seasons Chiang Mai blends with its natural surroundings seamlessly, with trees growing between and around the resort, overlooking terraced rice fields and the mountains of the Mae Rim Valley. The resort has 64 boutique pavilions, each with a private veranda, as well as 16 private luxury residences. The Sala Mae Rim serves Thai cuisine and offers sweeping views of the valley below, and the Terraces have international dishes with a view of the Doi Suthep mountain range. The hotel has a health club with state of the art equipment, including a sauna, herbal steam room, whirlpool, cold plunge pool, 20-meter infinity edge swimming pool, a business center and wi-fi access. There are also mountain bikes available for use, along with maps of trails through the surrounding forest. The Spa at the Four Seasons Chiang Mai has seven treatment suites with rain shower massage tables and private herbal steam rooms. Professional spa therapists can help you choose the best treatment package for your needs. The hotel is 25 minutes from Chiang Mai International Airport.
The Anantara is a chic luxury retreat perched atop a high mountain ridge overlooking the confluence of the Mekong and Ruak rivers, and close to Thailand's borders with Laos and Myanmar. It has 58 guest rooms and 19 suites decorated in a style that blends the best of the area's rich fabric and woodcarving traditions with contemporary design. The resort includes a sybaritic spa, an infinity pool that looks over the tree canopy to the Mekong River and up towards the hills of Myanmar and Laos, a fitness center with steam rooms, saunas, squash and tennis courts, a Thai cooking school, and an elephant camp, where you can learn about the importance of the elephant in Thai culture and arrange a ride through the surrounding jungle. The Anantara is also home to three food and beverage establishments: Sala Mae Nam (international buffet breakfast and Northern Thai specialties for dinner), Baan Dahlia (authentic Italian cuisine with a wine selection from vineyards around the globe), and The Elephant Bar and Opium Terrace, the perfect setting for a night cap.
An exotic getaway reached by riverboat, the Four Seasons Tented Camp is set in a bamboo jungle at the meeting point of three countries: Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. Fifteen freestanding, luxurious tents are spaced along a half-mile-long hillside trail over the Muak River, each with a large outdoor deck to take in the lush surroundings and the sounds of the forest. The rooms are outfitted with hand-hammered copper bathtubs, and custom-made furnishings that hearken back to the style of 19th-century explorers. The spa offers simple luxury with traditional Thai massages in open-air salas that seem to float in the air amid the trees. The treatments include mountain botanicals and warming spices for a unique and restorative experience. Private yoga classes are also available. A variety of dining experiences are offered and are shared by the small group of guests: breakfast is served at Nong Yao, the camp's restaurant; lunch might be a picnic in the jungle with folding tables, stools and linen napkins; dinner could be a barbecue, a five-course formal meal or a dinner by the campfire. There is a pool and attached whirlpool at the camp that has been integrated into the landscape, surrounded by granite boulders and lush plants. The camp is 90 minutes from Chiang Rai International Airport (CEI).